TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-5:30 José was born in Bilbao, Spain, in 1943 (he grew up in Aulestia; his mother had to go to Bilbao for a Caesarian operation). His parents were José Luís Goicoechea and Paula Gabiola, both from Aulestia. He has 3 siblings: Miren, Sabín, and Jesus; he is the youngest. His parents never went to the United States, but between 1936 and 1939, his father fought in the Spanish Civil War, and often went hungry. José’s mother had to work very hard while her husband was away to ensure the family’s survival. During the war, his father ran the ambulance, and at one point, narrowly escaped a shooting with his life. José remembers his baserri, Bizketxe, where he helped his farmer father work the fields and care for the animals. Life was hard. There was no plumbing, and so José had to get water from a nearby river. When was 17, he began working in a nearby armory, making rifles for several years. He then moved to America.
5:30-15:00 José recalls his school days in Aulestia. He spoke only Basque, and classes were in Castilian. There were many times when the students wanted to understand the teachers, but it was difficult. He learned to read, write, do a few math problems, and that was about it. He finished primary school when he was 14, and went to Lekeitio for a year to study, but never finished. José then worked in the mountains, making charcoal. In Aulestia, boys and girls were separated in the tiny schoolhouse. His teacher had been imported from another part of Spain, and José heard about many kids being punished for speaking Basque at school, but he still did so with his friends. He describes the schoolhouse itself, and the curriculum. After the civil war, he doesn’t remember many of the changes at school, except for songs they had to sing. José recalls the repression of the times. No one had a radio, television, or telephone, and it was hard to see hear about the world outside the regime’s propaganda. He remembers a story his father told him about the harsh treatment of soldiers during the Spanish Civil War. José’s family never went hungry during rationing, since the baserri was self-sustaining, but the quality of the food went down.
15-25:00 José’s family didn’t sell any of the farms products in town. He recalls the farmers who did: they would bike to town with their goods until the mid1950s, when a few cars appeared. He remembers that his family members used to carry another pair of shoes to church in order to change out of the dusty ones. José used to go to dances, play pelota, and ride his bike for fun. He was 27 when he came to America, in 1971. He knew his future wife all his life, and married her after having been in the US a few times. He came by himself to Rupert, Idaho in 1971 to herd sheep (his grandfather had spent some time in Kuna and Nevada as a sheepherder years before). José came on a 3-year contract, and worked for John Bebe. He recalls his trip to the US: he flew from Madrid to New York to Salt Lake City, where he was fogged in and spent a few night at a Basque boarding house before finally going to Boise. He spoke no English, except for a bad word, but her really wanted to learn, and so bought books and tapes to that end. Life as a sheepherder was lonely. José was the camptender for Alejandro Madariaga for a few years, and then became a herder himself. José was in Rupert for 4 years and 7 months, with sheep for 3 years and using machines on the same man’s fields for the rest. He and friend Angel Mendiolea went back to the Basque country in 1975 for months. Franco was sick at the time, and everyone was unsure about the country’s future, so he went back. José describes the life of a sheepherder; he was in charge of between 2600 and 2700 sheep. His route ran from Rupert to Sun Valley, and her remembers chatting, drinking, and fishing with hippies along the river there.
25-30:00 While a sheepherder, José didn’t have much vacation. He asked for a few days his 2nd year, and he would come to Boise, staying at the Valencia, visiting his mother’s cousins, and playing Mus. With the money he earned, he paid of his debts and bought an apartment in Aulestia, which he has since sold. He now owns 2 houses with his wife in Aulestia. José never liked to have money in the bank, put invested it. He married Milagros Anitua (from baserri Garatxa) in Aulestia in 1978. He had not dated her before returning the 2nd time to Euskadi, for a year.
0-5:30 José worked in a factory in Markina for the year he was in the Basque country, but he always intended to return the US. He married on July 1, and was in Idaho with his wife by Labor Day. Green card regulations only allowed him to be away from the US for 1 year. Since he had worked for Simplot after his 1st trip back to the Basque country, he already had a job offer in Grandview, so that’s where the couple went. Their only child, Dina, was born in 1981, in Mountain Home. She grew up learning Basque, Spanish, and English, and is now conversant in all three. It was very important for José that his daughter speak the only language he was completely fluent in. Dina has studied in Spain. In Grandview, José fed and tended to livestock. The family moved to Boise in 1983, where he has been Simplot’s chief landscaping engineer to this day (no easy task).
5:30-12:00 José is a member of the Boise Basque Center, and goes to the dinners several times a year. Dina has danced for the Oinkaris, and the family always goes together to picnics and special Basque festivals. José’s work keeps him busy. He loves to speak Basque. José has been in the US for 30 years and has visited the Basque country 13 times. He stays at his house in Aulestia. He still feels comfortable in Euskadi after all these years, even though it is hard fro him to understand the Batua of younger generations. José and his wife hope to retire in the Basque country when they can, not because they dislike America, but because he misses his former home. He has been a US citizen for 3 years; he’s a dual citizen. José feels both Basque and American, but is primarily Basque because that’s the language he can express himself in.
NAMES AND PLACES
Bebe, John: Idaho sheep rancher
Franco, Francisco: Spanish dictator
Gabiola, Paula: José’s mother
Goicoechea, Dina: José’s daughter
Goicoechea, Jesus: José’s brother
Goicoechea, José Luís: José’s father
Goicoechea, Milagros Anitua: José’s wife
Goicoechea, Miren: José’s sister
Goicoechea, Sabín: José’s brother
Madariaga, Alejandro: sheepherder José worked with
Mendiolea, Angel: camptender José worked with
Oinkaris: Boise Basque dancers
Simplot, J.R.: José’s employer; Boise billionaire
Aulestia, Spain: José’s childhood home
Bilbao, Spain: José’s birthplace
Bizketxe: José’s childhood baserri
Garatxa: José’s wife’s baserri
Mountain Home, ID
Rupert, ID: 1st US town José worked in
Salt Lake City, UT
Sun Valley, ID
Valencia: Boise Basque boarding house
Spanish Civil War